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Hardship mounts for Congolese caught in fighting

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Hardship mounts for Congolese caught in fighting

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While the UN considers whether to send more troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s war zone, life is getting ever harder for people there.

There are reports of government soldiers demanding money from people at checkpoints as they try to escape the conflict.

It remains unclear how widespread the problem is. But there seems little chance of the plight of ordinary people easing any time soon.

The renewed fighting in the DRC is concentrated in the northeast of the country. The rebels say they are trying to protect the Tutsi minority, but the government sees their actions as an attempt to seize power.

Around 250,000 people have fled the fighting. Aid workers at makeshift camps say they are struggling to cope.

“We were obliged all last week to give them food and now we are giving them essential household items. If not, they will just live like animals here, because they have nowhere to go and no money to buy anything, and there is no market here,” said a Red Cross worker.

With some of the DRC’s neighbours signalling they may intervene, fears are growing the region will once again slide into multinational conflict.